Minchinhampton - Nkokoto Link - January 2017
Two models of solar-powered D-Lights (S1 on left, S20 on right). Each costs about £7-£8,
a month's wages for many families in Nkokoto. For us, two cups of coffee and a slice of cake.
Well over fifty people gathered at the Hub to listen to a beautifully illustrated talk by Dr Fran Wilson Copp "Season's Greetings - a colourful history of Christmas cards" on Wednesday 23rd Nov. Fortified against the November chill by mulled wine and the season's first round of mince pies, we saw how the images that decorate our cards of snow, robins, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, the Three Kings etc. have developed over the past two hundred years.
Fran showed in her brilliantly researched series of illustrations how the Dutch legend of St Nicolas dropping a small bag of money down a chimney to a needy family ended up in a stocking hanging in the fireplace to dry. From this, Sintaklaas (St Nicolas) became the early Santa Claus, depicted at first in green robes, then in blue and even yellow before settling on the red suit with white trimmings, familiar the world over today and spread in the early days by Coca Cola adverts.
Ice and snow scenes from Bruegel's paintings such as 'Hunters in the Snow' and images of people warming their feet by the fire revealed quite surprising details when selected parts of the original paintings were enlarged on the screen - details which you would probably not be able to make out when reproduced on a card - but have a look anyway, perhaps with a magnifying glass !
Snowy scenes are not what we associate with our friends in Nkokoto but they have been busy detailing projects for our consideration. Our good friend Stima writes: "Though there is some electricity, many poor villagers live in thatched houses or have corrugated iron roofs and do not qualify to have electricity." He estimate that 300 families need solar powered D-Lights and 16 new pupils starting secondary school also need them to do their homework - sunset comes early all year round in Nkokoto.
Pupils who finished secondary school handed back their bikes which were on loan but an increase in the number of first year pupils means 13 new bikes are needed. Sponsors' donations will continue to be used for providing uniforms, shoes, individual school bags and equipment. Stima tells us that the primary school is in dire need of 10 pit latrines, 5 for girls, 3 for boys and 2 for staff. As always, he has costed all these projects in detail.
Through our sponsors' generosity, we will continue to support the college students taking courses in dress-making/tailoring and carpentry. The two carpenters and four tailoring students who successfully completed their course in December will get kits to help them start work - tools for the carpenters, a sewing machine, rolls of cloth and tools (scissors, cotton etc) for the dress-makers.
Our next major fund-raising event is this year's Murder Mystery "Indian Rhapsody" on Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th of March in the Market House. Tickets will be available soon so get the dates in the diary and contact your friends about this entertaining evening with splendid food and good company.
A very Happy and Peaceful New Year to all our friends, supporters and sponsors